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02/05 • EAST AFRICA

  • May 2, 2024

Weeks of unrelenting heavy rainfall have unleashed catastrophic flooding across East Africa, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its wake.

The deluge has ravaged communities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Somalia, and parts of Rwanda, claiming at least 350 lives and displacing over 350,000 people.

The region, vulnerable to extreme events including floods, has again been tested by the ongoing rains made worse by the convergence of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole warming event and the current El Niño pattern - a potent combination that has concentrated immense rainfall over the region with forecasts of even heavier rain over the coming days.

The impacts of the floods have been devastating. Vital infrastructure like roads and railways have been washed away, severing critical trade corridors. In Tanzania, a major regional food producer, over 76,000 hectares of farmland have been destroyed, sparking fears of potential shortages as crops yields are expected to plummet by up to 30%.

The human toll has been staggering. On Monday, a dam in western Kenya collapsed killing more than 45 people and the government have warned that 5 further dams are at total capacity and have urged residents to move to higher ground. Similarly, heavy rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands and across Somalia, is intensifying, with flash floods reported in some places since April 19, and while in Burundi, around 96,000 people were reported to have been displaced by months of relentless rains. Uganda has also suffered heavy storms that have caused riverbanks to burst, with two fatalities confirmed so far and several hundred villagers displaced.

Thousands of homes have already been damaged or swept away entirely particularly in informal settlements, leaving multitudes displaced without shelter, food, clean water or access to healthcare. There are also growing concerns about potential disease outbreaks from the stagnant floodwaters that have accumulated. The scale of need is immense, stretching the capacity of governments and aid agencies.

While most humanitarian actors have operational capacity and are ready to intervene, they face obstacles such as poor recovery and replenishment of basic service pipelines from the past flood season, mainly due to the lack of financial support.

Prayer points:

For those thousands of people impacted or displaced by the floods would find shelter and receive the comfort and support that they need from local governments and responding organisations.
For the governments, aid workers and humanitarian agencies responding across East Africa. Grant them provisions, wisdom and perseverance to reach those most vulnerable. Prevent any further loss of life.
For the rains to subside and the flood waters to recede, sparing the region from further loss and suffering. Provide for long-term recovery needs in the wake of this catastrophe.

 

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